“I hope I'll be on the field already,” said Baltz, a kicker-punter from Anthony Wayne (Oh.) High School, who accepted a scholarship offer in August and plans to graduate in December and enroll at Maryland in the spring.
Baltz averaged 40.7 yards on his punts this year with a long of about 74 yards, said his coach, Craig Smith. Baltz also improved his consistency on kickoffs, with 78 percent going for touchbacks. The team finished 6-4, in 3rd place in its league.
Baltz said his punting average was down a bit from last season because he punted with more short fields, though he had several games with more than one punt inside the 20-yard line.
“I had a couple of 20 or 25-yard punts where if I kicked it 50 it'd be ten yards out of the end zone,” he said.
Baltz split his time between football and soccer this season, and Smith said he thinks Baltz will only get stronger and better when he concentrates on kicking and punting full-time.
“He's still developing his leg strength,” Smith said. “Once he gets on a regular strength program I think he'll fill out a lot and get a lot stronger. He's got great upside.”
If Baltz ends up taking over punting duties for Maryland next season, he'll step into some big shoes; senior punter Adam Podlesh is considered one of the best punters in the country. The success of Podlesh and other special teamers such as Dan Ennis, Nick Novack and Brooks Barnard made Maryland an attractive destination for Baltz.
“It's great to be following a great player like [Podlesh] because I'll hopefully see him around a little bit and maybe he can give me some tips,” Baltz said. “There's a tradition to follow, something to work for to meet what he's done and possibly improve on it. It won't be easy though.”
While the on-field success of past Maryland special-teamers was a big factor in his desire to be a Terp, Baltz found the university attractive for more than just football.
“It's not just [the great players that have come out of the system], but the education and how great the people are that have come out,” he said. “I heard about the team eating in order of GPA instead of seniority. They're great players and they're great people too. I want to be around that kind of thing.”
Consdering Maryland the G.P.A.-based eating order authored by Maruland coach Ralph friedgen, it's safe to say Baltz will stay well-fed; he carries a 4.39 grave average, tied with several other students for first in his class. He's unsure what he wants to major in, but is leaning toward business.
Baltz, meantime, has taken up another sport, albeit one that doesn't require quite as much athleticism as football or soccer.
“I'm on the bowling team right now,” he said. “I wanted to do something fun and it's only once or twice a week. I don't know if I made varsity or JV, but I made the team, which was my original goal.”
It's expected the Terps will do a lot of bowling themselves during Baltz's career.
Travis Baltz Scout.com Profile